Houston's Men of the Moment

Ray Dennison and Mellanie Perez | March 27, 2017 | Feature Features

From a pediatric surgeon helping kids be kids to a race car maverick revving up for big news, the men shaping Houston's future have a no-holds-barred passion for what they do. Here, six trailblazers sound off—in their own words.

Pediatric surgeon Matt Greives is making a big difference—and rewriting the script—for the Med Center’s tiniest patients.

“I’ve wanted to be a doctor since I was a kid. I studied bioengineering and then chemistry at Washington University in St. Louis, then went to NYU for med school. During my studies there—and on a mission trip to Chile—I became very interested in plastic surgery and congenital anomalies. My mom’s a teacher, so the idea of working with kids was always very salient growing up. Pedatrics is so important because you’re making it possible for kids to go have fun and just be kids. I was recruited by Children's Memorial Hermann Hospital and UT in 2014. I didn’t have any ties to Texas, but it’s been right ever since. Academically and professionally, this place is world-class, and I’m currently working on a procedure that will reduce the number of surgeries required for kids with cleft lips and palates, drastically speeding up the process. On my recent trip to El Salvador, I got to see kids I operated on last year and how well they were doing. That was incredible. You feel like you’re there for such a small amount of time, but you’re impacting lives forever.”

Jacket by Hugo Boss, shirt by Bonobos, tie by Ted Baker, all subject’s own

Houston-native and fashion designer Joshua Washington embarks on his first visual art collaboration.

“Fashion discovered me, more than I discovered it. Although figuring out how to make fashion my career took trial and error, studying at Polimoda Fashion Institute in Florence helped me figure out my path. That’s where I founded the Edwige Pierre collection, named after my great-grandmother. Its style is defined by its open-minded point of view—breadth that allows it to be casual yet sophisticated, and open to new development and cultures. I split my time between Houston and New York. This year, I’m collaborating with local Houston visual artist Angelbert Metoyer on a live-painting performance, where he’ll be interpreting music into paintings on fabric. I’ll then make those designs into ready-to-wear garments. It’ll be a ton of fun for us. It’ll be wearable art. The only way you can see the entire art piece is if you gather all people wearing the different pieces around the world, in one space together.”

Jacket, $1,000, by Maison Margiela; shirt, $970, by DSQUARED2; shoes, $700, by Fendi; tunic, $450, and trousers, $300, both by Edwige Pierre Designs; Classic Fusion Titanium timepiece, $8,800, by Hublot at Zadok Jewelers

Executive Roman Rotges brings the second Oroa store in the United States to Houston’s River Oaks District.

“I was a developer for 12 years in the South of France, and after meeting the founders of Oroa in 2013, I made it my mission to help their business expand. After opening our first store in the United States in Miami in 2014, Houston was the right next step for us. We love it here, and we had the opportunity of opening at the River Oaks District, which has provided us much exposure and helped the company thrive. Oroa has 7,000 clients worldwide and 400 stores, but this one is the only one right now to have contracts with two major furniture businesses: Restoration Hardware and Crate & Barrel. We differentiate ourselves by having one of the largest collections in the world. We launch about 500 to 700 products a year, from sofas to wall decor. To what do we owe our success? It’s all about understanding what the market is asking for. If you’re good at this, that’s when you go from a random company to suddenly one of the strongest in the field. We’re also bringing a Dutch touch to the market with our new Eichholtz Collection. The idea is always trying to bring in new brands to different countries.”

Shirts, $495 and $625, and vest, $3,045, all by Brunello Cucinelli; pants, $295, by Canali; shoes, $495, by Tod’s; Royal Oak Offshore timepiece with alligator strap, $26,000, by Audemars Piguet at Zadok Jewelers

Fleming’s ex-operating partner Sam Governale forges his own path with a new restaurant group while staying focused on what makes it all worth it.

“My dad was a physician but always nurtured a love for entertaining, so I grew up knowing there was more than one way to take care of people. Although I’m originally from Houston, I lived in New York after college and did medical research for years before I realized I wanted to open a restaurant. It hasn’t quite stopped since. For me, there’s nothing more gratifying than elevating people’s lives in a restaurant setting. After a fruitful career at Fleming’s, I was ready to branch out. It’s been the right time for a while now; it was a matter of things falling into place. The confidence I have in the relationships I built at Fleming’s kind of pushed me to create a new place to gather and continue those friendships, and that’s the main inspiration behind my new restaurant, Emmaline, which opens early May. We want it to be a neighborhood amenity and [to] bridge the gap between Montrose and River Oaks. Why Emmaline? It’s a family name. It speaks to the restaurant’s design—comfortable and familiar yet refined. I wanted to celebrate the spirit of what that name carried.”

Shirt, $475, blazer, $2,895, and pants, $395, all by Isaia; shoes, $595, by Santoni; Historiques American 1921 timepiece, $34,000, by Vacheron Constantin at Zadok Jewelers

Race car prodigy Simon Dawson, who owns Radical Texas with his father, prepares to push the pedal to the metal and transform the sport of racing.

“My father is a bit of a racing legend. When I was a kid in England, he’d go off to races in Japan or other far away places, and he’d bring back the coolest things—race suits, helmets. Growing up near the track, I remember drivers rolling me down the hill in my racing wheels. I played tennis and rugby in college, but I always wanted to race. I moved here in 2007, and then launched Radical Texas, the official licensed dealer of Radical, England’s top sports car manufacturer. Now, we have a test track where we train pro racers for European-style series here in the United States. Radical owners can also come out and spin around the track, while interested racers can do test runs and get behind the wheel for a day with an instructor. We’re also developing a revolutionary natural-gas race car, and we’re about to launch a new racing team with a major, major sponsor that could change the entire sport. Growing up in this industry—and as a father with my own son now—I always felt like the ladies and the children were afterthoughts. I plan to change that. I’m thinking kid zones, corporate meeting rooms at the track, international travel trips for both races and shopping, major brand launches and partnerships. I want to dive deeper, and I want to get everyone excited.”

Jacket, $3,600, shirt, $450, and pants, $450, all by Ralph Lauren; shoes, $825, by Armani; Big Bang Spirit timepiece, $23,100, by Hublot at Zadok Jewelers

Hooker’s portfolio is climbing crane-high, and his new Upper Kirby project, The Giorgetti, might just be his best yet.

“I grew up on a farm in Tennessee and always looked up to my sister, who owned a golf course and resort development company. At 10 years old, I decided to become a golf course architect. Although that didn’t play out exactly, I did study design and landscape architecture at LSU before working in New York on the redevelopment of urban space around the World Financial Center and the 9/11 Memorial. It was extremely inspiring. Then, in 2011, I met my husband and moved to Houston to join the Mirador Group, a boutique architecture and interiors firm. Our residential projects are my favorite, and we’re working on several custom homes and condos. I’ve been more physically and emotionally involved with The Giorgetti—a seven-story boutique development—than anything I’ve ever done. It’s the first building fully branded by a high-end design house, and it’s going to set a new standard for the entire country. We’re collaborating on cabinets, lighting and other features, and buyers can even have Giorgetti custom design a fully furnished, turnkey home. We break ground later this year, hopefully, and should finish by 2019.”

Jacket, $1,995, shirt, $295, polo, $195, and pants, $295, all by Paul Smith; shoes, $750, by Corthay; Le Petite Prince timepiece, $5,950, by IWC at Zadok Jewelers


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